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March 30, 2015
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Posted: Tuesday, March 11th 2014 at 2:03pm

Public Safety Tribute planned for Roosevelt Square

By Marc Eggers Staff
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(L-R) Frank Hooper, Steve Cronic, Lona Pope
GAINESVILLE – A new monument will soon be joining the monuments that adorn Gainesville’s Roosevelt Square.

The three Rotary Clubs in Hall County (Hall County, Gainesville and South Hall) have united their efforts in a project that has been "on the drawing board" for nearly two years: to construct a Public Safety Tribute.

(Rotary officials reminded all that the difference between a memorial and a tribute is that a tribute honors those still living.)

Lona Pope of the Hall County Rotary Club has been a major impetus behind this idea. "We have done a great job in Gainesville/Hall County of putting monuments and memorials to all those war veterans in all the past wars (for) all the things we have done as a nation and as a community. But we’ve really never stepped back, and we’ve never said to those people that we think are heroes each and every day, that we need to say ‘Thank you.’ to them."

Retired Hall County Sheriff Steve Cronic joined retired Gainesville Police Chief Frank Hooper at the Tuesday meeting of the Hall County Rotary Club to update the Rotarians on the status of the project.

Hooper said that the target date for the tribute’s dedication will be during the first week of May in 2015. "It’s the first week in May which is nationally 'Public Safety Week' which nationally honors all public safety employees."

Funding for the $35,000 to $45,000 project will be provided in large part by the Rotary Clubs: Gainesville Rotary will provide $15,000, and the Hall County and South Hall Rotaries will provide $5,000 each. The remaining costs will be covered by the sale of "Corporate Benches" at an estimated $2500 apiece, and individual "Bricks", with the names of current public safety employees etched into them, for approximately $50 each.

The City of Gainesville will assume maintenance of the site following its dedication.

The tentative site for the tribute will be where the fountain once was located inside Roosevelt Square, between the Roosevelt Memorial and the War Veterans Memorial.

"There’s even has been some talk of possibly…moving the ‘911 Monument’ that is currently in front of the Mountain Center to this location, which I think would be a more appropriate area for it," Hooper said.

"If you talk to any of your fire fighters, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, 911-dispatchers, they don’t really consider themselves heroes. They consider themselves servants," Hooper said.

Cronic added, "We’ve gotten a lot better about acknowledging our military personnel…I’m one of those people, I don’t believe that we can do enough to honor our veterans...but it’s really great now that we’re going to have a project that honors those that serve on a daily basis."

Pope closed by saying, "We want to put some green-space around it. We want it to be a really comforting place to go and sit for us and the Brenau students (from the adjacent Brenau Center)."

Stay with for details about how to purchase bricks or benches. We will bring that information to you once specifics are released.

Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News

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